Friday, July 31, 2020

Design Floor Friday - The UFO Slayer - (Modified) Sapphire Stars Edition

Welcome to another edition of Design Floor Friday and greetings from the UFO Slayer (that's me!!)  Today, I'm working on slaying another one (after recently finished my A-6 Mystery of the same vintage) of my 3 year old UFO projects.  I won't be completely putting it out of its misery, but I've gotten a really good start.

I present the UFO in question, my (Modified) Sapphire Stars Mystery quilt from Kevin the Quilter:

The top (normally oriented vertically) measured only 22.5" x 29.5", as seen in the photo above.  It was in dire need of an expansion project, but I just didn't have the bandwidth to continue through the clues of Kevin's Mystery.  Don't get me wrong!  His quilt turned out great, but after 3 years of quilt parts hanging out on my sewing table, it just needed to be DONE!!

Here are the steps I went through...

Step 1. Find the borders which were made at Quilt Camp.

Step 2. Try using ALL the pieces and parts made during the mystery:

Well... THAT didn't work!!

Step 3. Show the above photo to quilting friends and received the following feedback...

Fairfaxknitter: I like the piano key border. Recommend making it narrower, 2/3 the width of the inner blocks, and make it all perpendicular to the quilt top.

Stitchley: That’s nice work on the border but I think it overpowers the quilt. i think I might put it aside for a different project and work on coming up with something simpler. Too much red and yellow distracts from the main focus, the pretty blues. Some colorful touches but not quite this much! ( my opinion and worth every penny of the price!) rich but deep, calm, and subtle is how I would describe your center panel and those ideas should carry out to the border.

Knittingsuek: Um, yup, “bright” is the word I would use :p. Definitely is overwhelming. Have you tried pushing it under the quilt so only a square the size of your cornerstones show? The smaller amount might work and it would be a way to audition. Then you could just chop off what you want and save the rest for another project.

Thanks, you guys!!

Step 4. Seek a professional opinion.

Step 5. Follow the advice of my friend Libby @ Hillside Quilter, which was to pull in a border with yellow/gold and then use the piano keys all around.  I stopped for a photo op after the first part of her recommendation:

Step 6. Add in the borders that Kevin had proposed for the real Sapphire Stars quilt:

Step 7. While the scenario above was better then my initial attempt to USE ALL THE THINGS, my friend Libby (and a couple of my Ravelry friends) suggested only using the piano keys:

Step 8. Phone a friend for a 2nd opinion.  Needleb's comment was, "I like it!  It changes the character of the center and adds a lot of energy."

I am thrilled to present Modified, The Extended Version:


You think they need to be sewn on???  Harrumph.  :o((

Well, they will be.  Eventually!  That requires another set of steps...

It's a good thing that I have PLENTY of those...

... Along with some bits to use on something else when this is done:

After an amount of time at my sewing machine.  Along with more time spent at the ironing board to adjust the directions of the new sections...

... The borders are sewn to each other.  All that remains is attaching them to the quilt top.  I'm planning on doing the miters.  Here's the mock-up.  Now, I just have to sew:

Let the bordering begin...

Followed by MORE pressing:

Just LOOK at that beautiful miter!  Well, the FIRST one was good... 

... Unfortunately, they got incrementally worse with each successive mitered corner:

Luckily, I've discovered (and embraced) the fact that perfection is overrated!  Next, I'll press those miters...

... Then, trim away the excess fabric:

I've been waiting all week to share this with you.  At least, this quilt is happy with the way I chose to finish it off (unlike my IMPROV Scrap Swap.)  Whew!

The next step will be to choose (or make) a backing backing for the freshly completed ~ 40" x 45" quilt top.  Here is the top choice, not too feminine and not too masculine.  I think it's just right:

I'm pleased that this UFO is ready for quilting.  That will have to wait until I've worked through the backlog of client quilts.

Sharing with Alycia

Until next time...
Sew. QUILT. Now!!! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wonderful Wednesday (Or is it???) - IMPROV - On the Border

Welcome to another edition of Wonderful Wednesday!!!  Today, I'm here to continue the story of my IMPROV Scrap Swap challenge quilt.  I was thrilled with the center of the quilt, but it needed a bit more

Here's the easy part...

I added a gray flange (cut at 1") to enclose the center of the quilt:

Beyond that...

Borders cut at 2.5":

That sounds perfectly normal, right?


Maybe not, once you take a look at how they were applied:

Hey!  It's IMPROV and (no matter what LeeAnna said) this felt right for my challenge quilt.  My in-home Design Assistant wasn't thrilled, either.  He prefers radial symmetry.  We had talked about a different border application and in my excitement to get them on, I completely forgot about the plan!  Sigh...  A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

(In theory,) I liked the quirkiness of four different border fabrics.  I thought my choice was clever.  As time went by, I began to feel like it was just a hot mess.  Yes, LeeAnna.  I just MIGHT have been wrong.


Done is done, in my book.  The borders are on and they are staying.


Do you hear it?  I'm hearing a LOT of grumbling from the COMPLETED quilt top.

Thanks a lot, Julie!!  This is ALL.  Your.  Fault!!!

You see, Julie @ Me and My Quilts -- Exploring the Possibilities is all about listening to her quilts.  Even if the top is already done!  It's not done until the quilting is in.


Apparently, I've got some UNsewing to do.  More on that in a week or so.  You know?  Once I've got photo evidence that I've done all the ripping and resewing.  Who is grumbling, now?  Oh, that would be me.

Whooping it Up with Sarah


Sharing with Cynthia
Until next time...
Cut. Sew. Repeat!!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Mail Call Monday - June/July Scrap Infusion

Welcome to the next edition of Mail Call Monday!!!  As you may know, I'm always up for a stash enhancement or a scrap infusion.  Both have occurred in the last several weeks.  I thought you might like to see.

Neutrals, lights, or low volume???

Whatever the term YOU use, I got a fun pack of them last week from Wanda @ Exuberant Color:


... Many pieces...

... That is took FOUR photos to get them all in:

Now, I just need to determine which project(s) these lovelies will be going in!  First world problems, I realize.

Also arrived, via carrier pigeon, at various other times...

Candy had a bag of scraps for me:

Just LOOK at those lovely Dark BLUE scraps (among others!!)  My RSC Quilter friends might be a tad bit jealous about that one.  :P

Ella presented me with a grocery sized bag FULL of scraps when I was at her house for Linda's outdoor Retirement Party.  This one included a couple of Thimbleberries patterns:

And from Diane, a produce bag STUFFED with delicious scraps:

I think I have a plan for these.  Off to check the cutting instructions that Needleb sent a couple of weeks ago.  We're having a QAL using a pattern that we got at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. I wasn't really into it when she texted me, but these scrap have me really excited about the project.

Then, as the month drew to a close...

I had a visitor...

... Who came bearing gifts:

Dee Dee drove by on the way to run her errands for the week.  Strips, Batiks, and Crumbs were added to my collection.

Wow!! Nothing like a bag of someone else's scraps to get one's creative juices flowing!!

Thank you, Wanda, for making up that packet of neutrals for me.  Quilting friends?  YOU kind and generous  enablers of my scrap addiction, a special THANKS to each of you!  I SEW appreciate you sharing your bounty with me.

Until next time...
Pass the scraps!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

ScrapHappy Saturday - RSC20 - Week 30

Welcome to Week 30 of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!!  I'm sure Angela is already plotting and planning our next color for the RSC, but for now...

Let's see what Dark BLUE damage I can do...

SUNDAY - I applied binding to a UFO today.  Not a drop of Dark BLUE anywhere to be seen, unless you count the blue tape stuck to my machine:

MONDAYMini Monday post and a little of this:

TUESDAY - I could be found happily stitching away on the binding of my A-6 Mystery, a UFO that I'm hoping to finish by tomorrow.  When taking a break from that, I was busy making an attempt at finishing the top of another UFO which include a small amount of Dark BLUE for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

I also released a NEW edition of Tidy Up Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY - I did a couple of really wonderful things today.  One, you can read about in my Wonderful Wednesday post and the other...

Was a Zoom meeting with LeeAnna @ Not Afraid of Color.  Here I am, sporting a bit of Dark BLUE:

And here we are once the stars aligned and Zoom decided to work at LeeAnna's house:

THURSDAY - Late last night, I discovered that Libby @ Hillside Quilter had posted a photo of her BIG win, along with the mug rug that I made for a swap we did several years ago.  They couldn't be more different from one another:

This morning, I spent a couple of hours with a few of my favorite quilters.  Yep!  That's right.  It was time for another Weekly Quilt Group meeting on Zoom...

... And I dressed with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Color of the Month in mind:

After the meeting, I was inspired to work on a UFO.  The borders for my Sapphire Stars needed a few additional strips for each end, in order to accommodate the angle of the miters I'm planning.  Just LOOK at all that lovely Dark BLUE for the RSC: 

FRIDAY - ZoomKNIT started off my day.  I enjoyed visiting with each of these knitty friends:

This evening, I posted more UFO progress in today's edition of Design Floor Friday.

SATURDAY - It's LINK PARTY day over on Angela's So Scrappy blog.  Since you didn't get a lot of Dark BLUE eye-candy here, maybe you could head over to see what the other RSC Quilters have been up to this week.  I'm pretty sure at least a few of them have gotten some scrappy sewing done.

I'll head over to check out all the links after an outdoor visit with my friend Tracy for coffee and knitting...

... And a quick stop at Candy's to pick-up a stack of storage drawers for under the longarm:

Until next time...
SCRAP sew safely!!!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Design Floor Friday - IMPROV - The Challenge Continues

Welcome to another edition of Design Floor Friday!!!  If you follow along in my quilting journey, some of you may recall that I recently celebrated the completion of a challenge quilt (top.)  Being a thoughtful and kind quilter, I really try to LISTEN to my quilts.  Would you like a border?  No border?  What will it be?

My IMPROV Challenge quilt became uncommunicative when I got to this stage of the game:

At first, I gave a special scrap a chance, but I wasn't sure that worked.  The colors were right.  However, it felt too light and airy for the body of the quilt:

It was at this point that I took a poll...

I asked several of my blogging and real lifeline friends to weigh in on borders for my quilt.

Here is what they had to say:

Judy @ Busy Hands are Happy Hands - "Hmmmm?  I might put a scrappy border on it.  The Gees Bend Quilters did!  Not too wide or I might just bind it.  It would probably depend on my stash!"

"Whatever you will be GOOD!"

LeeAnna @ Not Afraid of Color  - "striped fabric... if you have a stripe of many colors fabric"


leeanna:  oooo you have good striped fabrics... all match, so I looked at them to
see which one took too much attention from the center... the one on my
photo's left seems to fit values wise. will you put a little strip in as
breathing room?

me: Are you talking about the mostly light yellow one!?

I was actually kind of contemplating one of each! LOL!!!

Not as wide as shown, though. I just wanted you to be able to get a better sense of the colors. 

leeanna: one of each is very improv of you...

me: Yes. Does that mean you hate the idea? That sounds a touch evasive.  :P

leeanna: well... I think this is a fun center and deserves to star in the show. I'd do one fabric personally. I'd put a buffer of something like my favorite color in it. or black and white. Then I would use the slightly softer colored one on the left, maybe piecing in some hst's at each corner to make sort of a framed star point. Then a bright fun binding of different colors on each side, primary colors like red, blue, yellow and bright grass green.

that's me...
as to putting four different fabrics on the borders, I think they'd be busy, not in the best way. They might fight to get one's attention, when the star of the show is the fun fabrics in the center.
That said, it doesn't mean it would be wrong

About then, I switched gears and worked on another project for a while.

Until I heard from...

Needleb @ Ravelry - "possibly stripey"

B: If you use the bird fabric it needs a skinny inner border.

me: One or ALL the stripes?

B: One.
B:Might like the border fabric best if there was a stopper inner border.
Hard call.
I like the stripe on the right.

me: Hmm... working on another project right now. I'll look at it again later. Thanks for weighing in.

Knittingsuek @ Ravelry - "Cute, cute, cute. Hard to pick options without knowing what the inner border is."

me: White or gray inner border, but I am seriously thinking of using on strip of each stripe for the borders.

Next, I consulted my in-home design assistant...

DA: "I think the multi-fabric striped border really fits the theme of the quilt."

me: If I use each of those fabrics, there are still some options for arrangement.

DA: I'm not sure I understand.

me: One strip on each side. One strip on each side, applied log cabin style. Corner stones at the corners or "cornerstones" at the plus points with each strip wrapped around the corner of the quilt top. SEW any options!

DA: I kind of like the idea of taking the quilt in a new direction. It fits.

me: Thanks! I'm still not sure what I'll do.

Thanks for joining me on this journey to a completed challenge quilt.  Come back next week (month? year?) to see if I managed to get it bordered, quilted, and bound.

Until next time...
Quilts can be SEW challenging!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wonderful Wednesday - UFO Club FINISH!!!

Welcome to another edition of a Wonderful Wednesday!!  This is the story of the journey to a completed quilt.  Back in 2017 (?) Alycia @ Alycia Quilts introduced a new A-6 Mystery.  Her intention is always to generate QOV donations through her MysterysforMilitary group.

I often collect the clues, but rarely have time to quilt along.  This time, I had a piece of fabric that was calling for the large scale designs that Alycia is known for.  I gathered a collection of supporting players and followed closely behind the group.

My quilt top was completed at a Sew Day with my good friend Needleb (who just HAPPENED to have split the fabric with me in the first place!)  Lucky thing, too, as I needed an extra bit to balance out the design.  Thanks again, B!!

The completed quilt top made many appearances on my UFO Club List in the ensuing years.


I had a BRILLIANT idea to contact Alycia (who also runs Quilty Girl!)  What better way to complete this quilt than by having the designer do the quilting?  It's not as if I could cover the quilt in the feathers that it was demanding!


Alycia agreed to quilt my quilt, while NOT charging an arm and two legs (or my first born offspring to do so.)  I packed up the top and backing and arranged for her to take care of the rest.


Off it went to Colorado for some quilty love.  By and by, the quilting was done and my A - 6 Mystery arrived in the mail...

 ... And sat in quarantine for several days before being opened:

I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to send this quilt...

... Out to be quilted.  The feathers are SEW perfect and totally NOT in my wheelhouse!  Look how beautiful they are:

Another look at the feathery goodness:

The 80/20 batting really made the quilting POP!  Back...

... And front:

Yes.  I am one happy camper:

Once the quilt was out of the box...

I used it as the backdrop for last week's Zoom meeting with LeeAnna @ Not Afraid of Color:

Then trimmed the quilt...

... And sorted through my binding options:

I made my selection, cut strips, and found that I had just enough:

Piecing the strips and preparing the binding...

... Was followed by attaching it to the FRONT of the quilt:

That's right!  This quilt is getting the royal treatment.  Hand sewn binding.  Right after I fix the places where my non-traditional quilt backing (a cotton knit) rolled into the seam line.  I marked the sections to be ripped out with two safety pins.  The third pin denoted the sections that are ready to be resewn:

Alas, it was time for some SLOW stitching:

Three days passed...

Eventually, the hand stitching was done and so was the quilt:

Count them!  FOUR corners.  Along with all the bits in between:

Every quilt deserves a beauty shot or two...

Once the sun dropped behind the trees, I was able to take a driveway shot.  In all honesty, I almost waited too late to get good photos:

Let's not leave out a shot with Daisy:

About that time...

My quilt holder ambled outside to help.  For some reason, he felt compelled to debate which side of the quilt I might like to photograph:

He managed to get it centered on the first shot:

It's time to go mark this one off the UFO List and report my finish to the Summer 2020 (Ravelry) UFO Club over on the Quilters Knitting group.  They are going to be SEW excited that I actually finished a BIG quilt for once!  It's been nearly a year since I finished something larger than a small wall hanging.  This one measures ~ 64 x 80 inches.  I remembered to add my label, but chose a different spot than I normally would.  I recently saw a blogger post about inserting her label into the binding.  Why not give it a try:

You can make your own Big Star Country quilt.  Find the pattern HERE in Alycia's Etsy shop.  It goes together SEW quickly, making it perfect for donations or gifts.

Sharing with Alycia


Whooping It Up with Sarah

Until next time...
Finish those UFOs!!!